Irish fishing bodies have asked the EU to suspend talks on Norway’s bid for unfettered access to Ireland’s blue whiting grounds. “It’s alarming that the EU could unilaterally negotiate away rights to our blue whiting,” says Aodh O Donnell, chief executive of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO). “Meanwhile Norway, a non-EU member, is offering no meaningful reciprocal arrangement to Ireland.”

O Donnell says Ireland has “rich blue whiting fish stocks worth over €160m. Norway already has 18% of the European and coastal states quota for blue whiting – compared to Ireland’s share of just 3%. But they are now seeking further – and unilateral access – to Irish waters, to catch much of their enormous blue whiting quota in 2023 of over 400,000 tonnes. This is being negotiated by the EU on behalf of Ireland, though no agreement has been reached despite two rounds of talks.”

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